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I could do that! you ever walked by a display of those hand-carved toys at Target and done a double take at the price? Yeah, we have all been there, done that, and yet we still dish out the money for the kitschy homespun look of those simple wooden carved or embroidered pillows toys. Why do we do that?

Now I will admit that my family is not 100% green, but we do recycle and I always try to reuse/re-purpose for the crafts that I hold at my library. In fact, just yesterday, my son raided the cardboard recycling bin in our kitchen for the empty Big Box Store cereal boxes and disappeared in his room to promptly come out wearing a cereal box mask and proclaiming himself to be a robot. Is there anything more precious than the imagination of a five year old who would rather play with a box than the multitude of electronic devices his parents provide for him?

Game stations, computers, and such are great, but they can be mind-numbing which every child who has proclaimed “I am bored! There is nothing to do here!” can attest to–even while they are surrounded by high-tech or expensive name-brand toys. That is why I love Joel Henriques’ book Made to Play!: Handmade Toys and Crafts for Growing Imaginations. The ideas are so simple that you will be inspired to come up with your own homespun toys to keep the kids entertained. The directions are easy to follow and the crafts are really simple. Great project for a Sunday afternoon! Need more inspiration than those contained in the pages of the book?

Well, there is a blog for that! Joel Henriques is also the brain behind the website Made by Joel. Simple pictures and illustrations detail the steps for creating your own projects that are just as fun to play with as they are good to look at.

This book is due to be published in October 2011, make sure you pre-order your copy today. You won’t be disappointed.

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